• ADHD in young girls

Researchers have reported that children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) believe they are coping better socially and in school than they actually are, but Erika Swanson, PhD, a recent graduate from the University of California at Berkeley’s clinical psychology program, has found this to be untrue in girls.

In a study published in August in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, Swanson drew data from a cohort of 140 girls with ADHD and 88 girls who did not have the disorder, who researchers followed from ages 6 to 18. In addition to obtaining standardized test scores, they asked the girls to rate their own academic performance, classroom conduct and social skills. The researchers also questioned teachers, parents and peers about the students’ academic performance, classroom conduct and social skills.

Swanson found that the girls with ADHD assessed themselves as realistically as peer reports and standardized test scores did. However, parents and teachers scored the ADHD girls significantly lower than girls’ self-report in the social, academic and behavioral domains. These discrepancies, however, didn’t seem to lead to poorer functioning for girls with ADHD later in adolescence, Swanson found.

“It’s not that girls with ADHD aren’t struggling in these areas,” Swanson says. “However, we shouldn’t be so concerned with how these kids think they’re doing and should work on actual skill building.”


Baker, O. (2012). Girls with ADHD Make Realistic Self-Appraisals, Research Finds.

Research Roundup. American Psychological Association.